Paul Walusimbi, 36, oversees security at The Observer, and doubles as an office assistant. He is, however, also an events MC at kukyala, kwanjula and weddings. Quick Talk had a chat with him about life and work.
Paul, could you tell Quick Talk about yourself?
I am Paul Walusimbi, a man from the Ffumbe clan of Buganda. I work as an office assistant here at The Observer. I am also a professional MC at kwanjula (introduction ceremonies), kukyala and weddings.
Where does your story begin?
I am born to Damian Kitengejja and Jessica Wanyana; they are both alive. I come from an extended family where we are more than 20 children, but among them, I am the fifth born and eldest son. I partly grew up with my stepmother in Masaka but spent most of my childhood in Ssese islands with my grandmother.
Which schools did you go to?
I started school at 12 years old when I came back to Kampala from Ssese islands. I went to Standard primary school in Katwe and started from primary three, but I finished my primary seven from Villa Road primary school, Masaka [a sharp kid, no doubt!]
For my secondary school, I went to Bukalasa Seminary, Lubiri High School and finally finished senior four from St Anthony Secondary School Masaka. For Advanced level, I went to St Andrew Kaggwa Kasaala, in Luweero. I then joined Kyambogo University for a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences.
After graduating, what was your next step?
I worked at FINCA bank, Ben Kiwanuka branch as an office aide before I was sent to their Masaka branch. But while there, I had disagreements with my supervisor and quit.
I then decided to go back to Ssese islands and began trading in mukene [silver cyprinid]. One of my friends told me there was a big market for silver cyprinid in Kenya; so, I packed to take it there. Unfortunately, it was all seized at the border because I had no license, and I went back to zero.
How do you end up at The Observer?
A friend I went to school with tipped me off that they wanted to hire an office assistant. I came for an interview and got the job. That was in 2015, but in 2019, the security guy was fired and since the company was restructuring [going from a tri-weekly to a weekly], there wasn’t much need for an office assistant. I was asked if, with a pay increment, I could oversee security as well, and I accepted.
What was your dream job, growing up?
I wanted to be a trader or a businessman, and I still hold that dream to date; so, if I make enough money, I will get back to it. I think I was inspired by the many traders I used to see while staying in Ssese islands and the much money they used to make.
What has been your happiest moment in life?
It was in January 2016 when I had my daughter. I even cried tears of joy. I remember rushing to Mulago hospital with my father when I got the news that she had been born. She is the only child I have so far, because as you know these days’ economy... you have to plan well before having children.
Are you married?
Not yet, but I want to. It has taken me this long to marry because I haven’t yet found the right person. There are very many women but to find one suitable for marriage is not easy, but that issue will also be sorted. Currently, I have someone I am courting and we shall see where it goes.
What happened to your ‘baby-mama’?
Munange...... she got a man who was better than me; the one who I think had all the qualities she wanted and moved on. Which is okay. You know I work on Sundays; so, one Sunday I was here working and when I got back home, she had packed all her things and left. We had not quarreled or fought; I just went back home and the house was empty. I called her and she told me she wanted to stay alone for some time, but she had found another man.
Sorry, bruh! But who is your ideal woman?
I want a woman who is so understanding, caring and of course beautiful. I don’t want a mean, dirty woman, or one who practices witchcraft.
What inspired you to become an events MC?
When my daughter’s mother left me, I knew she had left because of poverty and that even if I found another one, she would also leave. I had to find an extra job. I was attending my brother’s function and I heard that the emcee had been paid Shs 700,000 and I was like what, I can also do that. I just needed someone to train me [true, Paul is a natural. He effortlessly emcees at the staff parties.]
Who mentored you?
I was mentored by Joseph Ssendagire, popularly known as Mzee Bakiddawo, who I believe is the best and I also enjoy the way he emcees. In 2019, I called him up and he asked me for Shs 2m to train me, but I only had Shs 700,000 and he agreed to start training me as I paid in installments. By the way, I have never even completed the payment; I have so far paid him Shs 1.5 million and still have a balance of Shs 500,000.
Your mentor is a comedian; do we see you joining comedy as well?
Very many people think I can be a comedian, but I don’t think I can do comedy. What I think I can do though is acting and I may try it out, because when I watch our local movies, there are some actors I watch and don’t enjoy what they are doing. I feel I can do better.
How was the first function you emceed?
Haaaaa.... Things did not go that well. I remember it was a kukyala in Kayunga but being my first time, I was making mistakes and did not know how some things were done. But luckily some people kept on correcting me because they knew it was my first time.
How does it feel to be MC at weddings yet you are not married yourself?
Eehhh! But on most of the events I never tell people that I am not married and they rarely ask, anyway. And the truth is most MCs are not married. But like I said earlier, I am slowly but surely working on the matter of marriage.
You guys eat a lot at people’s functions...!
Yes, there are some functions I have done, especially kwanjula and you see the other MC asking to be added more food [hahahaa... not you?]. But I think it all depends on someone’s personality; there are those who really eat a lot when they go to do people’s functions and some of us who eat responsibly [Okay!].
How do you spend your free time?
I like swimming; so, I usually go for it. [No surprise there, for someone who grew up on an island]. I also like playing ludo, although some people say it for idlers, but it helps me pass time.
And where are you going to celebrate New Year’s Eve from?
I will be at church; I am a staunch Catholic. That is how I always enter the New Year. I am not a party or clubgoer, neither do I take alcohol.